The students also had to pick one book from topics that included career exploration, high school planning, college preparation, or study habits. Two books that were very popular were Do What You Are and What Color Is Your Parachute? In Do What You Are the reader takes a personality test and then researches matching career choices. Parachute is a classic career search guide that provides practical advice on looking for a job or changing careers. The students also used some free online personality tests. There are many resources for career exploration both at libraries and online. See Resources at the end of this article for a few to get you started.

After picking four to six possible careers, a student should carefully research them. They should investigate the working conditions, skills needed, pay rates, and future outlook for their chosen fields. For conducting research online, the Bureau of Labor Statistics has a valuable site (see Resources).

Having a Goal

The last step in the career exploration process is creating an education and experience plan to meet the student’s goals. Students need to think about what classes and part-time jobs they can pursue today to prepare them for their future. If a student has a goal in sight, her schoolwork and part-time jobs become more meaningful. Information can be found in several homeschooling books on high school planning. I found that High School: A Home Designed Form + U + La by Barbara Shelton was very helpful. It covers designing a class and how to record accomplishments and experiences. Your student should also learn what graduation requirements are in your state and also what most colleges expect. All this information is online, and the College Board (www.collegeboard.com) website is helpful. Then your student can make a high school plan that is unique to him or her. In my class, David was a student considering engineering. His plan includes a full load of math and science classes. In contrast, Sarah is interested in acting as a career, so she was encouraged to participate in a summer drama camp run by a local Christian high school.

Life Is an Adventure

The career exploration experience may trigger something dynamic for your student. It did in my class. A metamorphosis occurred as the students began to chart a career path with manageable steps to get there. Encourage your high schoolers to consider carefully how they manage their time, what kind of classes they select, and what kind of part-time jobs they have had. Each decision in life can open doors that will lead them on the path to their goals and dreams. Life is an exciting adventure for teenagers. I was so fortunate to be a part of the process of seeing them grow up. I hope you too will enjoy guiding your students to investigate their personalities, match them with potential careers, research occupations to find a good fit, and then execute a plan to reach their goals.

Resources for Career Exploration

Books

• YES! Youth Exploration Survey

Crown Ministries

1-800-722-1976

www.crown.org/yesresources 

• Do What You Are by Paul Tieger

• What Color Is Your Parachute? by Richard Bolles

• High School: A Home Designed Form + U + La by Barbara Shelton

Websites

• www.humanmetrics.com â€”Personality tests